Australian poet, writer and critic Sarah Holland-Batt received the University of Sydney’s Judy Harris Writer in Residence Fellowship of $ 100,000 at the Charles Perkins Center.
Holland-Batt, who is an associate professor of creative writing at the Queensland University of Technology, is the first poet to receive the one-year scholarship. She will use it to complete her fourth book of poetry and a book of personal essays, exploring topics such as in-depth brain treatment, the unknown side of Parkinson’s, aging and mortality.
“One of the most exciting aspects of the Judy Harris residency is the prospect of pursuing a literary work while engaging in dialogue with leading researchers in health disciplines. I am delighted to see where these exchanges are leading my writing, ”she said.
Holland-Batt’s current work draws on his father’s experience with Parkinson’s disease and in the senior care system. His experiences in the system culminated when Holland-Batt testified on his behalf at the Royal Commission on the Quality and Safety of Elderly Care.
“Poetry can help foster empathy and understanding for older people,” she said of the relationship between her advocacy and her writing. “A poem can let a listener or reader get into a busy moment, they can feel like they are hearing someone’s intimate thoughts or experiences.”
“Most people are moved by stories like my father’s, but they still can’t imagine it happening to them,” she said. “A poem… can bring you closer to the lives of others, including those whose experiences may initially seem distant from yours. “
Holland-Batt will start the residency in the second half of 2021.
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